Sleep is an essential part of maintaining both physical and mental health – but it’s often the thing that gets pushed aside when we get busy and overwhelmed. Lack of sleep is a serious problem for millions of people around the world, and can cause irritability, disinhibitions, and moodiness. An ongoing sleep deficiency may even lead to issues like difficulty making decisions and solving problems, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, and a compromised immune system.
If getting enough sleep is a struggle for you, there are some steps you can take to help you fall asleep faster and rest more soundly – increasing the possibility that you’ll get your sufficient eight to ten hours each night. Any one of these tips can make an impact on the quality of your sleep, so try to incorporate as many as you can to see immediate benefits to your health and well-being.
Get the right kind of light
Circadian rhythm is your body’s natural way of keeping track of time – and if this gets knocked out of whack, it can have a huge impact on the quality of your rest. To reset your circadian rhythm and get yourself on a better sleep schedule, make sure you get enough bright light exposure during the day and limit your exposure to blue screens in the evening. Open your windows and spend time outside, and put away the screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
Stick to a schedule
Now that you’ve got your body’s circadian rhythm working properly, be consistent with the times you wake up and go to sleep to keep it functioning regularly. Your body will naturally begin to adjust and anticipate your sleep habits, making it easier to get up and fall asleep each day. Obviously, there will be days when sticking to the routine is impossible, but make these the exception – not the rule.
Almost anything you read about sleep and health will point to exercise as one of the best ways to enhance your wellness, but it’s important that if you have problems sleeping, stick to exercising during daylight hours. Research studies showed that even in patients with severe insomnia, exercise was better than prescribed medication at treating their symptoms, reducing the time it took to fall asleep by more than 50 per cent and allowing them almost 20 per cent more rest. However, exercise is a stimulating activity, which can increase alertness and make it difficult to fall asleep shortly after completing a workout.
Indulge in a steam shower
Everyone knows that enjoying a steam in a shower, sauna, or spa is a great way to relax and relieve tension, but it also has a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. If you don’t have access to a steam shower, you can see some benefits by enjoying a long bath or shower before bed, and some studies have shown that even just soaking your feet in a hot water bath is enough to promote relaxation and help you sleep more soundly. Steam increases circulation, reduces pain, and improves breathing – all of which can contribute to the quality of your sleep.
Clear your mind
Stress is one of the main reasons people struggle with falling asleep each night, so following a pre-sleep routine to promote relaxation and reduce stress can help ensure a restful night. Avoid eating or drinking alcohol, put away the screens, and heat your body with a steam shower or a bath – and then try doing a calming activity like reading, listening to music, or doing some breathing and meditation techniques before climbing into bed. Every person is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Find an evening activity that helps you unwind before bed and see how this small change can make a big difference on your overall health.
After just a couple nights of losing sleep – even just losing one or two hours each night – can significantly impact your ability to function. The benefits of sleep make a huge impact on your overall physical and mental health, so try some of these tips to keep your immune system strong, your body functioning efficiently and effectively, and your mind in top form.
Thank you to Jon Reyes who wrote this article. Jon is a guest author from Clearwells and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.